Liturgical Handbook of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
At the breaking of the Lamb, how are the separate portions placed on the diskos prior to being placed in the chalice?
Category: Divine Liturgy

Once the Lamb has been broken by the Priest into the four IC XC NI KA portions, these are inverted and placed upside-down upon the diskos (i.e. with the seals downwards, upon the diskos), the IC to the east, the XC to the west, NI to the north and KA to the south, prior to the IC portion being placed in the chalice:



NI     KA



It is too frequently observed that the portions of the Lamb are not inverted by celebrating Priests when thus arranged, whether by ignorance of this liturgical instruction which is clearly present in the Service Books, or by neglect. The rubrics directly instruct: ‘It is necessary for thee to know, O priest, that, on breaking the Holy Lamb, thou must place the side with the sign of the Cross downwards to the holy diskos, the cut side upward as before, when it was sacrificed’ (Подобает тебе ведати, о иерее, яко раздробляя Святый Агнец, полагай части крестным знамением долу ко святому дискосу, закланием же горе́, якоже прежде, егда закалашеся). That is, in this moment we again commemorate the sacrifice of the Lamb that is now consecrated and present in our midst, and do so by returning the Lamb to this position of sacrifice that is connected to the Proskomedia.

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Photograph of the broken Lamb, with the portions inverted to lie upon the diskos in ‘sacrificed’ form.

Inverting the Lamb is therefore not merely a practical instruction, but a spiritual and iconographic one. It must be heeded carefully by all clergy.

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